Treasure hunting… with 21st century technology

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March 23, 2011 by Marcin.Wilczek

In the good old days of my childhood I’d spend hours planting treasures and clues for my friends to find. I can still recall the moments they found encrypted messages with directions on how to get to the prizes. Fast forward to today, and the art of coded notes is slowly dying an undeserved death. But thanks to an advent in technology, treasure hunting may just have a slim chance of survival.

This advent is the GPS system, which has become a common item almost everyone carries around in their cellphone. Thanks to this and an almost genius idea conceived by Dave Ulmer, treasure hunting has not only survived, but globally evolved. Geocaching has brought treasure hunting into the 21st century.

To participate, all we actually need is a GPS device and the coordinates of one of the tons of boxes, which we then search for. Having found it, we are required to record our discovery in the box log and we may, although this step is voluntary, replace an item stored within the box with one of our own. The coordinates of the boxes are accessible at  Geocaching.com, and, for the tech-savvy, the website also offers mobile applications(which are unfortunately paid).

‘Where is the fun in all this?’ -you may wonder. Well, to begin with, you join a global game, and by global I mean played by thousands of people all over the world. Therefore it is never sure what you may find in the box you stumble upon. It maybe a Polish folk toy or a pamphlet from Hong-Kong. Not only that, but you can also lay your own boxes for others to find – and enrich by contributing to the log inside.

So, if you have an afternoon that you are thinking of spending in front of the computer playing another game on your console, why not hit up Geocaching.com, access the coordinates and set off to find some real treasures… in the real, outside world!

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